As I have dived deeper into the message on love, I have looked to other languages to see how they say the word love. In Japanese the word love is ai meaning love and affection. It is not the word used for romance or passion. The most interesting thing I found while looking at how to write this word of love is that it takes thirteen strokes to write the kanji character Ai.
That made me think of one of my favorite chapters in the Bible 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love. For those who are superstitious the number 13 is an unlucky number, but to me it is a number that spells love. When ever I question myself if a thought or action is right with God, I take it to this chapter. If it is what the words in this chapter says love is then I know I am in alignment with the Word of God and if it is not, then I know to take corrective actions. Thirteen strokes also made me think of the stripes Jesus took upon His body before He was crucified. Thirty nine stripes He took that day, okay that was definitely more than thirteen. He spent three days in the grave, rising on the third day. three times thirteen is thirty nine. These are just my thoughts, but ever since I realized that the number thirteen can be related to the Love of Jesus the kanji character really stuck out to me.
As I was praying last night a thought had come to me. My relationship with my earthly father has not been a good one. If you have read any of my testimony you would have read about some of the abuse that I had lived through. Well my thought was not about the abuse, but about a time when my father did something good. I had done things that I am not proud of and I have had to repent of and thankfully there is nothing that I had done that my Heavenly Father has not forgiven me of. Back to my earthly father, as bad as our relationship with him is there I can look back and see the times when my father was there for me. One time I was living in an other state and did not have a phone, I had been in an abusive relationship and one night something bad had happened. The next morning with my front door barricaded because of what I lived through, I heard a knock on the door. I peaked out of my window scared of what I might see and there was my father. I had not called him not just because I did not have a phone but because he was not someone I would have thought of calling for help. I lived in the next state from where he lived but he had gotten a bad feeling and drove all night to come to me. For once in my life I was happy to see him. He took me to the police department and I made my report. That was a time that had showed me that no matter how bad things were between us, I did not have to call for help he just showed up. Our relationship is still not good but I can look back at this and have a memory of a father’s love.
Remembering this story reminded me that God our Heavenly Father knows when we are in trouble and He will always come after you, because He loves you and His love never fails.
The first commandment is there is only One God and that we are to worship only Him. The second tells us that we are not to make any idols or worship them, and it continues to tell us that He is a jealous God. Now how can God be a jealous God, since God is love. In 1 Corinthians 13, we are told that love is not jealous. So the question how can God be jealous, since He is love? These scriptures seem to be contradicting each other. How can both be true?
Think about marriage. As a husband or wife would you not become jealous if your spouse were look for love or pleasure in another? I believe we all become jealous when the object of our love seeks love and attention from outside of your relationship. This jealousy does not mean that you do not love your spouse, but that because you are hurt and betrayed. There has become a separation in your relationship even if your husband or wife has not acted upon their desires, the mere thought is an act of adultery. Jesus taught us that if we even look at another with lust in our eyes we have committed the sin of adultery. Now God is called our husband and our maker, how do you think He feels when we turn to the world and seek after our selfish desires. We have betrayed Him and committed an act of adultery, by going after what we want without concern of the pain and damage we have caused.
Look at the life of Hosea. God has him marry a prostitute, knowing that she will not be faithful. Hosea could have refused God, but he chose to obey even though his marriage would cause him pain and shame. Yet just like God loved us so much that He gave His only Son to pay the price for our sins. When Hosea’s wife needed to be redeemed, Hosea paid the price and took her back home, forgiving her and loving her in spite of her actions. This is the love of God our husband.
How man of us are that committed that we would not only forgive the other but pay the pirce for their betrayal. Love and forgiveness are the gift God gives to us. Just as a husband and wife become one, when we enter into a relationship with Jesus we become one with Him. Since Jesus is one with the Father, and is also called our Groom. We are one with Jesus, and one with God, and His Spirit then comes to live in us. We become new. We are no longer who we were before receiving Him as our Lord and Savior. He takes away our stony hearts, and gives us a new heart of flesh.
Becoming one with Him, no longer being double minded, and tossed about by the ways of the world. We become firmly rooted in His Love, His Truth and His way. One with Christ, One with God, and One with His Holy Spirit. We continue to learn who He is as we grow closer to Him. In learning who He is we learn how lto love, because we learn who love is. For with the new heart comes His love that now pulses through our body, and not only our body but His body as we learn to live in His love.
Luke 9:21-27 And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” 23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”
In this scripture we see that Jesus was about to take up His own cross, and that He was going to suffer. He was telling His disciples of this personally. They did not have to read it in a book, but they heard it with their own ears coming straight out of the mouth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. We know they heard what He spoke, but did they understand what He was saying? He did not just tell them that He was going to suffer but that those that choose to follow Him would also have to take up their own cross.
Today you can go into a church or home and see some beautifully decorated cross. The cross Christ would be crucified on was far from beautiful. It was used not to just kill the one hung on it but to cause great suffering. You will read in James how we are to count it all joy when we face various trials and tribulations. Jesus told us that we would be hated and suffer not because of ourselves but because the world hated Him and he is in us. So we have been given authority but at the same time this authority does not promise that we would not suffer.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
John 15:17-19 This is My command to you: Love one another. 18If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. 19If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.…
Romans 8:17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”
Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith. “We must endure many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
We endure any trial or suffering and take up our cross not for our own sake but for the sake of the lives we can bring Jesus to. I know my personal life has had it’s fill of suffering and pain, but I have not suffered alone. Jesus has been with me through it all. How can I know this? I would not have made it this far without Him. What is more important is that those who have been able to see Him working in my life through the times of trials. This is my witness, it is not what I have done but what He does for me every day, and that He can be seen in my life. His love never fails me. I may hurt and have difficulties to put it in a nutshell, which in comparison to all that God has done for me really is the size of that nutshell. The life in this world is temporary, but our life with Him is eternal. So no matter what storms may rage I choose to take up my cross and trust in the One whom I choose to follow and know that He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The pains a woman endures during labor lasts for a moment, but the joy and love she has when her child is placed in her arms is forever. The pain of taking up your cross is temporary but the love of the One who you have chosen to follow is forever.
The question here should be, ‘Who is love?’ For God is love, and we cannot know love without knowing who love is. So who is God? He is known by many names, Yahweh, Jehovah, El Shaddai, Lord, God, and the Great I Am, are just a few of the names that we call Him.
He is also known as our Heavenly Father, our Husband and our Maker. The focus of the message today will be on God the Father. Many of you are parents. As a parent you can relate to how He loves us as a Father. As a mother or father you love your children unconditionally. Some of you who are parents have adopted children and you love them as much as if you gave birth to them. You provide shelter, food, clothing, and love. You may not always understand your children, and they do not always behave, but you still love them. This how God loves us. He provides for us and loves us, and even though we may not have been born to Him, He has adopted us, and made us His children.
We have all sinned and this has not stopped Him from loving us. It His love that redeemed us and cleansed us from our sins. There are those who had parents who had abused, neglected and rejected them. Our heavenly Father will never hurt you, leave, you or reject you. He faithful and true. His love is eternal and will never die. He is the Father who sacrificed everything for all of us. Sending His Son to pay the price for our sins.
He is patient and long suffering, loving us as we are. Not demanding that we love Him but inviting us into His family. Waiting for us to turn to Him and love Him in return. You do not have to believe me but believe in His Word. Read these scriptures and see how He loves you.
God is love; 1 John 4:7-8 and 16, Deuteronomy 7:9
Unconditional love of God; Romans 5:6-8,Titus 3:4-5, Matthew 5:43-48, 1 john 4:9-10
Made children of God; 1 John 3:1, Matthew 5:19, John 1:12, Galatians 3:26, Romans 8:15-16, 2 Corinthians 6:18
He is faithful; 2 Thessalonians 3:3, Hebrews 10:23, 2 Timothy 2:13, 1 John 1:9, Psalms 119:90
His love redeemed us Ephesians 1:7, Job 33:28, Psalm 103:4 1 Peter 1:18, Galatians 3:13 Luke 1:68
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
In Ephesians chapter 6 we are taught to put on God’s Holy armor daily. Here we are taught to put on love. To be clothed in love is to be covered in love. Since there is no one who is with out sin, and love covers a multitude of sins, this instruction is one we should all follow. This love we are clothed in is His Love, and since He is Love we are clothed in Him. The world then sees Him when we allow ourselves to be covered with His Love. This clothing is not made by the hands of man but a gift from God. His Love, His Glory, and His Grace to list a few of the attributes of The True Living God, who is Love. So just as you get dressed in His armor put on your clothes, put on His Love.
This is the Love that unites the body and works together for our good. Working together for the purpose of serving Christ and spreading the Gospel of Jesus the Son of God, our Lord, Savior, and Redeemer. The One who laid down His life to save us from our sins. Paying the price to redeem us from death. His blood cleansing us from our sins and iniquities. Making us one with Him.
For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Read these words and see the love of God. It tells us clearly of His sacrifice and His love. It does not speak of of hatred or punishment. It speaks of love and everlasting life to those who believe.
The life of His Son to pay the price for our sins. Loving us before we knew Him or believed in Him. In today’s terms you could say we were prepaid for. A gift waiting for us to recieve. scripture goes on to tell us that ‘God is not slow as we count slowness, but patient not wanting any to perish but that all would come to repentance.'(2Peter 3:9)
Showing His love to be long suffering(1Corinthians 13). He is still waiting for us to turn to Him. He could so easily have started over, especially after that time and again man has chosen to rebel against Him and choose the way of the world. He has given to us more time and mercy than we deserve, and it is His love that covers a multitude of sins.(1Peter 4:8)